Napster launches DRM-free online music store

More than 6 million tracks on offer

Napster has launched an online music store that offers more than six million tracks, all without digital rights management (DRM).

The digital tracks, which are available from all of the major record labels as well as smaller independent labels, will be sold in MP3 format and can be played on any MP3 player — including iPods, burnt to CD and transferred to other devices. Prices are expected to start from Most $US0.99 for single tracks and $9.95 for an album.

"We're now moving from under the DRM cloud," said Napster chief executive Chris Gorog. "Now consumers can use Napster with any device," he added.

The announcement reflects a move away from Napster's 'all-you-can-eat' monthly streaming music subscription packages towards a head-to-head competition with similar services from Amazon and Apple's iTunes. It is hoped the new store will start a shift towards 'digital locks' being removed from music.

"It's great that we have finally gotten here. It is really the beginning of a level playing field, which I think is essential for Napster, but also for the health of the digital music business in general," added Gorog.

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

PC Advisor (UK)

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